This idea was so popular last year that I’m reposting it again! Happy New Year everyone! ~Jaden
I always say that time goes by too fast. Every. single. year. Other than this blog, I don’t keep a family journal (lazy at writing with a pen and too shy to spill all our personal family stuff on Steamy Kitchen), so every year, I’m always stuck with wondering, “what happened this year?!?”
Of course, all the big memories are never forgotten, but it’s the little joys, the teensy things that tend to get forgotten. This year, we’ve started a new tradition to do just one thing – remember the little joys all year long in a memory jar.
We keep this vintage pale blue canning jar on the kitchen counter with a stack of colorful paper and a marker. Every few days, one of us will jot down something that made our family laugh or smile. On New Year’s Eve, we’ll be emptying out the jar, unfolding each paper and reading them one by one.
Next year, a new jar to begin again — and the best part is we can bring out past jars anytime to remember the little things that shaped our lives.
A memory jar is more fun than a journal – as anyone in the family can contribute to it. The best is when one of us secretly writes memory and quietly slips it into the jar. I can’t wait to read some of the notes my kids have written all year long.
Inside the jar, we also keep little silver trinkets and charms. Sometimes one of us will have a bad day, need a little extra reminder for compassion or a good luck charm on a spelling test. These are little enough to put into your pocket to serve as a extra oomph of support for the day. We used to have a small heart too – I carried around the small silver heart one day and ended up giving it to a stranger I came across, who needed a little love.
The charms are indeed magical – and I encourage my kids to give them to a friend or stranger who could use a bit of magic.
If you’d like to create a memory jar, here’s what I used:
Vintage mason jar – quart size: you can find these on eBay or Etsy. Try to get one with a lid so you can store each year’s memory jar on a shelf. The photo below is from Mason Galore on Etsy.
The colorful notepad is from Staples – even though it looks like a Post-It note, there is no sticky backing. Just a pretty spiral of colorful paper. $3.79 for 600 sheets.
You can also use scrapbook paper and cut them into 4″x4″ squares. I love the ones that come in a giant pad from Michael’s.
The silver charms were bought at a local gift shop near my home. There are so many gorgeous handmade ones on Etsy: sterling silver wishbone, faith angel wing, dragonfly word charms, copper pocket heart.
From Cartelle $28:
Another great idea I picked up from Pinterest (are you addicted as much as I am?) is to create a memory box full of index cards. Each card is stamped with Month and Day. Everyday, write a one or two liner of something that happened that day or a wonderful little memory. The key is to keep going year after year, writing the next year’s memory on the the next line on the same card. So everyday, you’ll be able to see what you did each year on that day.
From Design Sponge:
From Wit and Whistle –
While we’re at it, here are a few more ideas that I plan on incorporating in the near year. I have way too many photos, but unfortunately, all of them are either on the camera or on my hard drive. There’s just no excuse not to display them.
Printing is easy, it’s the framing that’s tedious. Here’s a great idea that uses an empty frame, wire and clothes pin. It’s so easy to change out photos and put up new ones.
I probably take more photos with my phone than my camera. Sticky Gram turns your Instagram photos into magnets. How cool. I haven’t used their service yet, but I certainly plan to. Turn your refrigerator into a memory board! We have a massive magnetic dry-erase board in the craft/homework room, which will be perfect to display the photos.
The kids’ artwork that comes home from school normally gets displayed on the magnetic dry-erase board (I’m not a fan of sticking stuff on the refrigerator) but after seeing these ideas, I’m going to have to change it up! The kids’ artwork are masterpieces and should be displayed for everyone to see!
From Oh Dee Doh A $30 project: curtain wires and clips from Ikea:
Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss says that “Home is Where Your Art Is” and I agree. She uses empty frames from the discount store and a clip to display her kids artwork. I love it.
An even better idea is to buy several large art canvases and host an outdoor art party! How cute is this!???? From J and J Home:
The last idea for today is from Fifth Wizardry: a cheap, clear shower curtain taped to the kitchen floor + markers and kids = adventure. I’d hang this in the kids’ bathroom!
Would love to hear more ideas from you on how to incorporate more memories, photos and art into your life!
I love your ideas here. These are exactly what I need to remember stuff someday.
Oh I so love this idea 🙂 We are going to start this Jar in our motorhome this year and then open it up Xmas day 2016- can’t wait to reflect back on a Year of how wonderful it all was!
Great, inexpensive ideas! They’d make fantastic gifts! Thanks for sharing!
I love this idea! Especially since my memory keeps going away more and more. 🙂
Way to go. I have been doing this for years, however this is different. I am going to change how I’m doing mine …
Great ideas and would make a fun inexpensive gift!
Great ideas and would make a fun inexpensive gift!
We use the memory jar idea but on New Year’s Eve after reading our memories out I start writing them all into a book. It’s time consuming but at least I know they’re all in one place as I tend to have a habit of losing things. I love the index card idea, might try and incorporate that somehow. Thanks for posting these ideas
Great ideas and would make a fun inexpensive gift!
I love your ideas here. These are exactly what I need to remember stuff someday. I have very bad recall, but the smallest triggers can bring back the memories full form! Thank you…
Anne! All the best on your new adventure – you will do great. Texas is going to be a lot sunnier with you there!!
Love how we met via Malena…only our noses know 🙂
all these ideas are lovely! i have the same tin box you used for the index card memory box, im pretty sure i got it at a garage sale
I loved, loved and LOVED the memory Jar idea…worth possessing the small tiny mini good glimpses…
Great ideas and would make a fun inexpensive gift!
What a fabulous idea! At the end of 2013, my little 7 year old and I will be scrapbooking our jar items… hopefully with other friends and maybe a little pizza 🙂
Wow! this so cool Jaden! 😀 Having a memory is a very great idea… thanks for sharing..
Jaden – I have to thank you for this post and the jar idea last year. My kids were 8 and 5 and I’d never successfully been able to stick with a memory keeping system. Scrapbooks, journals, online stuff, had all gone by the wayside at different times.
Last year, after your post, I bought a big jar at Target, a bunch of colored index cards, and some archival pens. We kept them on the kitchen counter and it worked! Not only did we stick with it all year, I really loved the process of writing a quick note or jotting down a quote or joke from the kids and dropping it into the jar. It was both fun and a relief to no longer feel guilty. Last month I ordered a leather bound 3 ring binder filled with plastic sheets meant to hold pictures, and had it gold labeled with our names. Tomorrow we are going to go through our jar and put them into the book. I so look forward to reading all the memories that, frankly, I would forget as soon as I dropped them in the jar.
And we’ve already started on index cards for this year. You have my deepest thanks!
I saw this idea on Facebook and ran with it in my own fashion — found a giant, decorative wine glass and decorated it with self-adhesive pearls a la champagne bubbles. I also wrote (with oil-based Sharpie paint pens) “Thankful” all over it. It holds pride-of-place on my mantle, and I try to add to it daily.
Love these ideas! I’m going to start a memory jar for this year!!
Me too! Going to do this. I love how you gave the silver heart to a stranger who needed a little love. I was that person a couple of years ago. Some total stranger walked up to me in the hospital when my daughter was very very sick (just an infant and it was 50/50 whether she would die) and just hugged me and started praying for me. It was crazy, but her encouragement really helped! I should put all that in my memory jar. Thanks for sharing.
LOVE these ideas – thanks.
This is a great idea!!! Thank you so much for sharing! Now I have a better way to keep safe all those precious memories 🙂
Great idea for the jar!!! Will try it this weekend!
I really like this idea, An to think these idea can be pass to my children..THANK you for sharing these fantastic idea..
They are so cute. I appreciated so much the children. They are so talented. I wish I can have children like that.
I have just found this on Stumble and I absolutely love this idea – I am starting this right away – such a lovely thing to do 🙂
Love the idea of a memory jar, and totally will make one this week, because, like you, if it’s not recorded on my blog, it’s not recorded anywhere. As for art and displaying it, this is how we roll > http://sweetnicks.com/weblog/2009/11/displaying-kid-art/
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memory in a jar is perfect~
A wonderful idea which I hope to recreate. Thank you . I started collected shells on our beach walk on holiday today as the first thing to go in it.
What an excellent idea! I will definitely use this with my own family!
Great Idea! I love passing on a great wish and love to someone in need. The girls have grown. I read Alice Walker’s book “The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses & Babe: A Memoir.” I looking forward to creating My Gratitude Jar!
Jaden, I wish I had thought of, or heard about, the memory jar and memory box idea YEARS AGO! How precious those little pieces of paper would have been to me now. I’m 57 and my sons are grown, but I will surely start a memory jar for myself and my grandkids when they come to visit. Thank you!
I’ve had a Memory Jar, I made w/my oldest grandson(just turned 18 in Dec), We used stickers on the outside: “Cody’s Memory Jar”, and I ran across it the other day, opened it, and started reading the slips of paper–one of my favorites is: At Uncle Scott’s wedding, Grandma took Cody (5 yrs old) around to the buffet, since Mommy & Daddy each had a 2 yr old twin to feed–Knowing how much Cody loved shrimp-I put a big prawn on his plate, when we got back to the table, he looked at the food–leaned over and whispered to me: Grandma, what is this? (pointing to the prawn). I said, That’s a prawn (he wants to know everything-so serious). He looked at it a little longer, leaned over and whispered: What part did I get? Knowing better to NOT laugh, I whispered back: What part do you think you got? So so seriously, he said: I think I got it’s arm! I excused myself, went to where he could’nt hear or see me, and laughed till the tears rolled down my face!
Kids–grandkids are so precious!
I’ll wait and give him his Memory Jar when he graduates from high school this year.
Love, love – love these ideas! Memory jar so simply and brilliant! ‘Thanks
These are ALL excellent ideas! I have a similar wire hanger with wire clips that I can “string” to make a curtain on photos. Unfortunately, they are still in their packages, one year later. I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to handiwork! I also have a collection of clothespin that I bought with the intention of hanging polaroids and photos as well, but…you guessed it…never came around to hanging them YET. One day, one day…
I am 54 years old with daughters ages 29, 26, and 19. At the end of each school year, I would pick “the one piece” I wanted to always keep and I would have them dry mounted and laminated. The pictures now hang all over my office where I teach. My students often comment how I have the most comfortable and prettiest office. I agree! And while I can feel nostalgic now and again- the pictures more often make me smile… they are truly my physical medals! Happy New Year.
Love it! First project for me for 2012! We had so many little memories with our little 3-yr-old that this will be excellent to capture these moments and read them at the end of the year.
Jaden,I absolutely love your memory jar. Sharing the charms with friends and even strangers in need is a wonderful way to teach kids compassion. Such small gestures can often mean a lot in trying times. Love reading what you’re up to.
I LOVE these ideas – do you mind if I link to this page on my blog?
Thank you for sharing these fun ideas for creating memories. I do this with my kids art but love the memory / trinket jar. Happy New Year!
These are fantastic ideas.
I may start one with my 5 year old and then she can look back at how she changed ver the years-by what interested her year on that day!
This is such a cute idea! We all tend to forget about some of the good times throughout the year, especially during the hectic times.
I’ve actually got a tutorial bookmarked that explains how to color your own mason jars:
I love this idea. And, I am totally doing this with my family this year. I love the idea of the little charms to give to each other, friends, family, or strangers who need a pick-me-up. Thank you! Happy New Year!
I love every single one of these!! I need to clear of my fridge and just put up sticky grams and I LOVE your memory jar idea. Thank you, Jaden. I can’t wait for 2012!
Oh man, this is EXACTLY what I needed to see! We need something to look forward to Christmas night when the punch in the gut that it’s all over sets in. This is the perfect way to spend the evening remembering all of the fun times we had!
I love all these ideas! I have a book that I write in random thoughts or funny things that happened throughout the day. I usually only get around to writing once or twice a week and it’s mostly just to remember the funny things my daughter says. But at least it’s something! I know I will treasure it in years to come!
When we lived in Japan I kept a “thankful” jar, so every so often I would write on a little piece of scrap paper and put it in the jar. When we moved, I wanted to cut down on shipping breakable stuff, so I just took all the papers out and taped them in my journal–I had already written the date on each piece of paper.
I love these ideas! I’ve seen a handful on Pinterest. Thanks so much for sharing Jaden 🙂
Love love lUUUv the memory jar! And all the other great ideas. Thanks for sharing Jaden!! ; ) Hugs to you and Happy New Year!
Gosh Jaden, what lovely ideas and such a beautiful post. I always luv your blog. Thank you and have a fab New Year. XOXO, Jackie
I LOVE these Ideas!!! I think I may have to scramble and get some things for the memory jar–what a beautiful lovely way to remember the year–I imagine you could also put the notes into a photo album if you don’t have space for multiple jars (and it might protect those precious notes!)
I am so glad I found your website–what a treasure 🙂
What a beautiful post filled with such great ideas….thank you.
Jaden, Thank You for this! I am going to start a jar right away…my family will love it. Happy New Year to you and your family…all the best in 2010!